Christy Tomlinson Mixed Media Collage: Doodle Art Inspired by Alisa Burk!

May 29, 2013 at 4:22 am (Art & Crafts, Artwork) ()


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Gaze – Detail

March 26, 2007 at 5:01 am (Artwork)

Gaze – Detail, originally uploaded by Cathryn’s Gallery.

Just a closer look at how I put it together…

This one’s a lot tighter than my other two. I got a little carried away with the detail. I don’t mind it, but it doesn’t have the loose, free quality of my other ones. I think the colour is a little bland, too. If I manage to make changes in the next few days I’ll put the new version up too.

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March 26, 2007 at 4:59 am (Artwork)

Gaze, originally uploaded by Cathryn’s Gallery.

I decided to try another drawing… it’s not quite finished, it seems to need tweaking here and there, but I thought I’d put it up anyway to see if anyone can help me figure out what it needs…

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Vector photo trace 5

November 20, 2006 at 8:24 pm (Artwork)

Vector photo trace 5, originally uploaded by Cathryn’s Gallery.

I thought I’d try another vector trace. I haven’t done this in a few years, so it was difficult to get back into the process. I found that I rushed through it a bit.
I like the loose style that rushing produced, but next time, I think I’d like to be a bit more methodical and produce something a little more polished.

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Vector photo trace

November 12, 2006 at 11:49 pm (Artwork)

Vector photo trace, originally uploaded by Cathryn’s Gallery.

One of the first vector photo tracings I attempted. I’m really happy with the loose treatment I gave it. I didn’t want it to be too realistic, but rather a bit more graphical.

I wasn’t taking many photos back then, so I used a stock image as a reference. I’ll be using my own photgraphy for future ones.

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Vector Portrait

September 16, 2006 at 3:21 pm (Artwork, Photography)

Ivana, originally uploaded by Cathryn’s Gallery.This is an Illustrator vector drawing I did using a photo I took as reference.

Here’s how it’s done:

I used large areas of colour and details along with tiny brush strokes made with my Wacom tablet and pressure sensitive pen. I actually trace the photo – sometimes making the colour shapes transparent until I’m finished.

I built the whole thing in a series of layers (turning some on and off to see as I go):

(Noote: – the layers are listed from the bottom up- just as they would appear in Illustrator – so you may want to read it numerically)

8) The finest details (eyelashes, eyebrow hairs, tiny lines in mouth, etc.) using a very small brush with minimal pressure.
7) More shadow shapes for darker areas – overlapping the the shapes below to create more shadow.
6) Shadow shapes in a transparent black over areas that have some shadow.
5) transparent colour shapes for light colour changes in face and clothing.
4) More full colour shapes that appear on top of the others below (pupils, lighter colours on the lips, block in the eyebrow shape, etc.)
3) full colour shapes to block in detailed ares like lips, eyes, etc.
2) Full colour shapes to block in the main colour areas (the skin, shirt, hair)
1) the original photo
(sometimes I will have as many as 30 layers)

All along I have decisions to make about where one colour begins and ends, what colours I am going to use (I can change the colour of the shirt or hair, if I want), and how detailed I want to get with the drawing.

It takes me about 3 hours to build up one of these portraits.

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Anatomy Drawing

September 8, 2006 at 5:23 am (Art & Crafts, Artwork)

hand.GIF“There does, in fact, appear to be a plan.” Albert Einstein

Various bone and muscular studies help to reinforce in our minds the shapes of certain more complicated areas.
The Study of anatomy is essential for artists whose primary subject is human or animal form.

Bone and Muscle StudiesA basic understanding of how the human form is put together helps to re-create it more convincingly on paper or canvas.

There are many good books available on the subject, and studying them can help the artist to recognize the shapes they see on the model, and therefore sketch them more accurately. With an understanding of what is under the skin, we can see with greater knowledge, and perhaps notice subtle shapes we wouldn’t have before.

Books and classes can increase the artist’s knowledge, but nothing compares with the actual study of a model. Medical schools may also be helpful as observing preserved specimens can greatly increase the understanding of muscular form and function.
 Planer Study of the body

A “Planer” study of the larger forms helps to understand the body 3-dimensionally (See image on the right).

To do this, the artist must treat the model or object as if it were a robot, with non-organic forms, geometrically defined. Decisions have to be made while drawing: Where exactly does this form change direction? I.e. where does the front of the arm become the side of the arm?

elbow2.GIFWhen you study from books take notes. Pay attention to what happens to the bones and muscles as they are moved. They form many different shapes when they are in different positions.


It’s also extremely helpful to study master figure drawings and paintings. The knowledge gained from viewing their sensitive handing of shapes, textures and lighting can be invaluable.

On the left is a more detailed planer study of the skeletal form. The skeleton forms the canopy over which our muscles hang. It acts as chassis or tent-poles, and the human form is completely dependent on it.

Focussing on specific areas for a time can be helpful. Once you have fully explored the forms you can move on to another area.



Don’t forget to have fun with it!


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Blind Contour Drawing

September 8, 2006 at 4:08 am (Art & Crafts, Artwork)

“How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something, but to be someone.” Coco Chanel

contour4.jpgAs I understand it, this is how to do a blind contour drawing:

Using any object or figure as a subject, begin anywhere on your page, visually imagining the drawing fitting into the confines of your page. Place your pencil (soft lead 4b or 6b, or a charcoal pencil, etc.) lightly on the page, look up, and begin to “trace” the contours of the object.

Do not look at your sheet – keep your eyes fixed at all times on the particular area that you are drawing. Take a lot of time. Let your eyes slowly “walk” – or “crawl” over every part of the object/figure while your hand follows the same movement.

Draw the hills and valleys over and under things as your eyes move over the surface. Do not stay on the edges, but cross over from one edge to another continually, following a curve, a wrinkle or some other landmark.

Let the pressure of your pencil vary as you move over the forms with your eyes. “Feel” the object in your hand so that its marks will be expressive and varied. Place more emphasis by pressing harder or sharper or with more detail, less, by being light-handed, using less contrast or thinner lines.


Let the pencil follow the cross-contours of the object, following the lines within a form that help define its shape. Do not lift the pencil off the page.Try to keep going for at least 20 – 30 minutes on one figure, 10 – 15 minutes on one object. If you must look, do it only to re-place your pencil, but try to do the whole thing without lifting the pencil once. It will look ghastly and not at all what you imagined when you finally look at it. It may not be accurate, but contour3.jpgit will be a drawing with greater feeling.

This exercise will help you to approach your drawings with more concentration and sensitivity.

There are other types of contour drawings that are also good to try.

Regular contour drawings are like the blind ones, only you are allowed to look. Once you’ve worked out the volumes and proportions lightly and quickly, get into that blind contour frame of mind, and start crawling.

Cross-contour drawings are completely “surface driven”. No outside lines allowed. In one direction (usually horizontally) the artist moves over the form (on the page of course) with lines that describe the shape of what is underneath. This resembles stripes on a tiger, furrows on a rolling field, or a model wearing striped leotard (?). It is a good exercise for drawing 3 dimensional form.

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Gesture Drawing

September 7, 2006 at 1:51 am (Art & Crafts, Artwork)

“What you are accomplishing may seem like a drop in the ocean. But if this drop were not in the ocean, it would be missed.” Mother Teresa

gesture1.GIFHere are some of the things I’ve learned as I’ve been studying. (The examples shown here may not be the best – I’m still learning. (Check out some good books on the subject for better ones).

A gesture drawing is a quick “grabbing” of the object – focusing on the total impression of it, and not the details. Gesture drawings are, more often than not, very lose and almost scribbly.

The artist tries to draw (as quickly as possible) the volume and position of the object, stressing areas of tension, weight and/or movement. An onlooker should be able to read the drawings as a feeling of something, a someone moving this way or taking such and such a position.
Facial Expression GesturesThese nebulous drawings MUST say something. As the artist pushes and pulls their conte or charcoal over the newsprint, he/she should be aware of the figure/object before them in a physical sense, i.e. feeling in their muscles and bones the position and transferring that knowledge through their implement onto the page.

A viewer can then see where the weight was distributed, and where the power of the pose was generated from, etc. Working quick and loose, there is a tendency to scribble through it, putting down lines just for the sake of it. Yet, find a comfortable speed within your time limits (30 seconds, 1 Minute, 5 minutes, etc.) to get the whole pose down in the least amount of lines and time. – So, think and draw at the same time (This is my problem). Then, as time goes by, go back to those places and add details as time allows, perhaps beginning with the most obvious to you (the most expressive parts, the most powerful/tense, weighty, proximal  (is that a word) ? Whichever moves you). This should then build to become a strongly communicated piece.stick2.GIF

Beware of emphasizing everything. Make a decision, and stick to it (unless you really must change it, just don’t be non-committal).

Beware of outlining the figure. Gesturing focuses on the total form. The lines follow the movement and position of the form, not its exterior dimensions. Go there only if you have time left.












2 minute Gestures 

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“Life Drawing”

September 7, 2006 at 1:12 am (Art & Crafts, Artwork)

“The great lesson is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbours, friends, and family, in one’s backyard.” Abraham Maslow

gesture2.GIFI have heard it said that if you can draw a human figure well, you can draw anything. I’m not sure I completely agree, but I know that it is one subject that takes years to master. As a student, I am learning three main “disciplines” in this field : Gesture drawing, to capture the movement, feeling and force of a figure: Blind Contour drawing, to give me added sensitivity and a higher level of concentration: and Anatomy, to help with the left-brained side of figure drawing – proportion, structure, and the knowledge of knowing exactly what it is I am looking at (“just WHAT IS that lump there?).
Working at these three things seems to bring a balanced artistic, yet accurate approach to life drawing. Not too many of the great master’s drawings had inaccurate anatomy or proportion. Actually, the opposite is usually true of their work. Not only does it carry strong structural and anatomical messages, they are also alive with feeling, gesture, emotion.
Without both, is it art?

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